No one except Manu Krishnan seems to have written any reports of FOSSMeet@NITC 2008, which concluded yesterday. Well, I’m sure we’ll have more feedback from those who attended the event, in a couple of days. Meanwhile, I thought I’d write.

The event started off (on Friday evening) with a conventional inaugural ceremony. Since we couldn’t get anyone else, we had to make the Director of National Chemical Laboratory, Pune- who had come to take part in a conference on polymers at that time- the chief guest. I wasn’t there for his talk, but heard that he talked well about free software (whew! narrow escape!).

After the inauguration, there were a couple of talks which went on till 10.30. The first one was on Octave and Maxima, by R.Deepak, Lecturer in ECE, NITC, and the other was on Blogging, by Kiruba Shankar.

I don’t know much about what went on in the main conference over the next two days, because I was volunteering at the lab where the workshop for school children, FOSS@School, was going on, led by Pramode. Those who missed any talks, don’t worry! We’ve got all the talks recorded, and will be putting them up on the FOSSMeet website soon!

Now, about FOSS@School. For me, it was the single biggest PLUS about this year’s FOSSMeet. (Especially when you consider the number of talks that had fewer than 10 listeners…) Around 42 motivated and energetic students, of 8th, 9th and 10th standard, took part in the workshop. 35 of them came from various parts of Malappuram, led by Seena teacher of Tharakan High School, Angadippuram, who took a lot of trouble to bring the children to NITC. She was accompanied by a few other motivated teachers as well.

The children truly enjoyed the workshop, in which they were mainly introduced to basic programing in python, through Adventures with Neko. They picked up concepts like defining functions and writing loops very easily through this approach. On Sunday, Joseph and company, from Jyothi Engg, College, Thrissur, came with the line following robot they had made, and demonstrated how it worked, to the kids. They were also given a brief introduction to PHOENIX. You’ll be able to read more about the workshop on Pramode’s blog shortly.

Besides this, on Sunday, there was a session of discussion for school teachers, led by Ani Peter and Praveen of SMC. They should be writing about it soon…

That’s it about this year’s FOSSMeet. I’ll add more if something strikes me…